UK breakfast index hits new high

The price of ingredients to make an English breakfast has risen to nearly £36 (US$44), a record high, as UK food inflation shows little sign of easing.

Every product in Bloomberg’s Breakfast Index was more expensive in April than a year earlier. Items such as milk posted smaller price rises than before, indicating inflation may be slowing in some categories, but the average increase of 22 percent was in line with recent months.

The index analyses data from the Office for National Statistics, including prices of sausages, bacon, eggs, bread, butter, tomatoes, mushrooms, milk, tea and coffee. It shows there is little respite for families struggling with soaring food bills.

“The pace of food price growth barely let up in April,” said Lisa Hooker, industry leader for consumer markets at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “The cost-of-living crisis is far from over, with groceries and leisure overtaking energy prices as the key concern for many households.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt met food manufacturers this week to discuss the soaring price of groceries and ask for businesses to soften the blow on consumers. The competition watchdog is also investigating prices in fuel and grocery markets.

Last month price rises on milk slowed to below 40 percent for the first time since at least September, reflecting efforts from grocers to ease pressure on customers. Supermarkets have also recently lowered the price of bread and butter and last week Tesco extended their cuts to include pasta and cooking oils.

“We’ve started to protect value by lowering prices the minute we get any deflation in our cost of goods, passing that on to customers straight away,” said Stuart Machin, chief executive officer at Marks & Spencer Group, during a call with reporters Wednesday. “I’m sure it will reduce and get a bit better. We’re probably hoping by the autumn,” he added.-Bloomberg




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